Best Rifle Scope Under $1000 – The 5 Best Optics in 2024

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As a shooter, I know how challenging it can be to find the perfect rifle scope with all the bells and whistles without having to empty my wallet. I‘ve spent a good chunk of change on advanced scopes, but I‘ve also stumbled upon some great quality ones that won‘t cost an arm and a leg. So, I decided to put my experience to good use and test out various scopes to find the best one under $1000.

In this guide, I‘ll share my top picks for rifle scopes that won‘t break the bank, and I‘ll also help you figure out what features to prioritize in order to find the perfect scope for your hunting needs. Trust me, you don‘t have to spend a fortune to get a reliable and accurate scope for your rifle.

My Top Pick – Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50

I’ve tried many scopes, but the Vortex Viper HS-T 6-24×50 is my favorite scope under $1000. It offers all the features I search in a rifle scope on a reasonable price. See its detailed review below for more information.

You can also check my guides on other price ranges:

The 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $1000

Besides a review of my top choice, you can find reviews of other 4 excellent scopes below.

1. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24×50 SFP Riflescope – Best Overall

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA

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If you’re looking for a more traditional rifle scope under $1000, I’d recommend the Vortex Optics Viper HS-T. Let me break down why.

My Observations After Using the Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24×50

For starters, the Viper HS-T is waterproof and fog proof from start to finish, so you should feel confident using it in any inclement weather or hunting environment.  I was impressed by the sturdy and durable construction which stood up well to bumps and drops during several weeks of testing in rough outdoor conditions. Despite a few spills onto rocky ground, the scope continued to hold zero and function perfectly. The magnification settings are pretty generous and adjustable, and the scope boasts a fast-focus eyepiece. I tested the scope at magnification levels from 6x all the way up to 24x and found the glass clarity and resolution remained sharp across the entire range. At 24x zoom, fine details on targets at long range were clearly discernible.

I found, during my time with this scope, exposed and adjustable target-style turrets. These turrets proved to be highly accurate and repeatable. They offered finger-precise adjustable clicks and tactile feedback, making it easy to adjust for windage and elevation. While testing at the range, I was able to precisely dial in adjustments to hit targets out to 600 yards. The audible clicks and smooth rotation of the turrets enabled 1/4 MOA changes without guesswork. The elevation and windage knobs had a solid feel with no play, ensuring precise adjustments. The zero-stop functionality also allowed me to return them to their previous settings in an instant.

Good eye relief and highlight transmission provided clear sight pictures during my time with the Viper HS-T. However, I observed that the eye box becomes noticeably tighter beyond 10x magnification, requiring very precise and solid positioning against the eye for a full view. This made quickly acquiring targets at higher magnifications more difficult during dynamic shooting scenarios.

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Speaking of those lenses, the Viper HS-T’s lenses are very premium in terms of quality. The multiple coatings they use improve resolution and color fidelity, while reducing light distortion and dispersion. The XR coatings in particular improve how much light is gathered by the lenses. I was impressed by the color accuracy and lack of distortion, even at the edges of the wide viewing angle. This helped acquire targets rapidly during simulated hunting trips and competitive shooting events.

As a result, you’ll have a great time tracking targets, even if they blend in with the foliage or background behind them. During a twilight hunting exercise, I was able to clearly identify and engage partially obscured targets at a distance, thanks to the excellent light transmission. During my use the reticle remained clear and well-defined, aiding in precise shot placement. The sight picture is great at any time of day, including high noon and at the lowlight hours of dusk and dawn.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

One downside I encountered with the Viper HS-T is low eye relief at higher zoom levels. Additionally, while adjusting for parallax, I noticed some minor challenges in achieving a perfectly crisp image at very long distances. However, through practice, I learned techniques to properly position my eye for maximum eye relief. I also became proficient at fine-tuning the parallax until distant targets came into tight focus. This is a fairly common issue with most rifle scopes, however, and you can compensate for it by practicing with the optic.

Key Features

  • 6-24x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Phenomenal lenses and light transmission
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Good windage and elevation adjustment turrets
  • Excellent reticle performance


  • Eye relief can be a bit low
  • Minor parallax issues at long distances

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the Vortex Optics Viper HS-T is the best rifle scope under $1000 thanks to its versatility, durability, and quality of light transmission.

My rating: 4.9/5

2. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20×50 Riflescope – Best Trijicon Under $1000Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20x50 Riflescope MIL-Dot Crosshair with Green Dot Reticle, 30mm Tube

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Trijicon also offers a stellar scope for under $1000. The TR23 AccuPoint scope has a lot to like, as I discovered during my time with the optic.

My Observations After Using the Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20×50

The TR23 AccuPoint provides top-tier value for money because of the SFP (second focal plane) tritium aiming point illuminated reticle. This reticle stays the same size no matter how you magnify it, but it also stays bright and visible, even in low light environments. During my testing, I used the scope at dusk and found the reticle visibility to be exceptionally clear and consistent across all magnification levels. This allowed me to accurately aim and take shots in low light conditions that would normally be very difficult.

I also found that the TR23 AccuPoint’s overall quality was top-tier thanks to its excellent components. For example, the scope is made with aircraft-grade aluminum, which keeps weight low and which improves its long-term durability. I took this scope on a multi-day rugged hunting trip through dense brush and rocky terrain. Despite several accidental bumps and scrapes, the durable aluminum body showed no signs of damage. Similarly, I found the lenses to be multicoated to boost light transmission and clarity. The glass was incredibly clear edge-to-edge, even at 20x magnification, allowing me to spot distant game with ease.

Then there are the adjustment dials. I discovered the adjustment dials for windage and elevation to be tactile, precise, and highly responsive: all good things you want from your adjustment controls on any optic. However, during repeated testing with a high-recoil rifle, I found that the scope had issues maintaining zero, requiring re-adjustment after every few shots. This was a bit inconvenient but fixable by realigning the windage and elevation between shots.

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Let’s return to the illuminated reticle for a second. I found that the illuminated system is dual-purpose. In essence, it automatically switches your aiming point to the brightness level suitable for your ambient light environment. In other words, you don’t have to adjust the brightness; the scope does it for you. This auto-brightness feature worked flawlessly during a hunting expedition that went from early morning to late evening. It adapted to changing light seamlessly without any effort on my part.

I also found I could manually override those settings, and you can as well. The illumination settings even come without the need for a battery. This was a major plus during extended trips, as I never had to worry about the reticle fading due to a dead battery. Instead, the TR23 AccuPoint uses fiber-optic technology and a special tritium phosphor lamp to get the job done.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

All that said, I did find that the windage and elevation turrets of the TR23 AccuPoint don’t lock. While testing the turrets’ precision, I accidentally nudged the elevation dial slightly which threw off my zero. After that experience, I learned to be extremely careful about bumping the turrets when carrying or positioning the rifle. It’s an ultimately minor downside, but keep in mind that you won’t want to bump either of these turrets when trying to hit shots at a distance. Practice with the scope for a few hours to get your posture down before taking it into the field.

Key Features

  • 5-20x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Phenomenal light transmission
  • Comes with an automatically adjusting illumination system
  • Responsive windage and elevation adjustment turrets
  • Durable and waterproof


  • Turrets do not lock

The Bottom Line

In the end, I’d heartily recommend the TR23 AccuPoint to fans of durable rifle scopes with illuminated reticles. This could also be an excellent choice if you are looking for a scope that will last for a long time in the field – remember, you don’t need to worry about the illuminated reticle’s battery running out of juice!

My rating: 4.5/5

3. Athlon Optics Midas TAC 6-24×50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes – Best Athlon Under $1000

Athlon Optics Midas TAC Riflescope 6-24x50 30mm APRS2 FFP MIL Reticle Check Price on Amazon
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Athlon Optics’ Midas TAC rifle scope is a top-tier piece of equipment, and I discovered a variety of things to be excited about when I tried it out for myself.

My Observations After Using the Athlon Optics Midas TAC 6-24×50

For under $1000, the Athlon Midas TAC scope comes with HD glass for its objective lens. That’s a big deal since it results in better light transmission and overall color quality: all important features when you are trying to hit a target that blends in with the underbrush or surrounding environment. When testing the scope under various lighting conditions, I found the HD glass provided excellent clarity even in low light dusk and dawn hours. However, I did notice some chromatic aberration around the edges of brightly lit objects at full 24x magnification.  Even at distances over 500 yards, I could distinctly make out target features that would have likely appeared blurred with inferior glass.

I found that the FFP reticle, which changes sizes with magnification levels, was actually quite beneficial, especially when engaging in varying ranges where holdover adjustments were critical. The consistent subtensions allowed accurate range estimation and holdover correction regardless of the magnification setting. This was a key advantage during a weekend competition with rapidly changing conditions and target distances.

I also took note of the windage and elevation adjustment turrets. They offered precise adjustments, but I initially felt some stiffness in the turrets that made quick dialing challenging. However, after a few range sessions the turrets smoothed out nicely for rapid and precise adjustments on demand. The side parallax knob allowed me to achieve crisp target images out to 800 yards by easily dialing out parallax errors. The parallax adjustment was smooth, significantly improving accuracy at different distances. This is a stellar feature since it lets you get rid of parallax completely at the upper end of the magnification spectrum.

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But I award my biggest point to the Midas TAC scope’s precision zero stop system. This system was particularly useful during a long-range shooting competition, where frequent adjustments were necessary. This mechanical system improves the windage and elevation turrets, allowing me (and you) to lock a zero position depending on your custom preferences or whatever will work for your next shot. You can then immediately dial the turrets back to zero instantaneously. In other words, it’s a perfect feature for long-distance shooters, and it works perfectly with the built-in APRS2 FFP Mil reticle.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

On the downside, the Midas TAC is a bit heavier compared to most other rifle scopes under $1000. After several long hikes carrying my rifle outfitted with the Midas TAC, I definitely felt the weight taking its toll. My accuracy suffered from fatigue over the course of extended outings. This additional weight was noticeable during a day-long hunting trip, leading to increased fatigue. Keep this in mind if you are putting it on a rifle for the first time, as it could throw off your shot or your memorized balance with your firearm. All of that extra weight can do things like cause your barrel to point downward, get harder for you to adjust your position, and much more.

Key Features

  • FFP scope
  • 6-24x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens


  • Has an excellent precision zero-stop system for the turrets
  • Lenses are made of high-quality glass and coatings
  • Very well-made and durable
  • Turrets are responsive and adjustable
  • Effective parallax adjustment


  • Heavier than average
  • Slight stiffness in turrets

The Bottom Line

In the end, the Midas TAC is a fantastic, if heavy, rifle scope for under $1000 thanks to its quality turrets and precision zero-stop system. Its glass clarity, especially at long distances, makes it a worthy investment for those prioritizing precision and quality. Consider trying it out if you want to test your long-distance accuracy with a capable optic.

My rating: 4/5

4. Primary Arms SLX 1-8×24 FFP Rifle Scope – Illuminated ACSS-Raptor-5.56/5.45/.308 – Best Primary Arms Under $1000

Primary Arms SLX 1-8x24mm SFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated ACSS-5.56/5.45/.308 Check Price on Amazon
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Next,  I am taking  a look at the Primary Arms SLX scope and found a variety of factors that impressed me in more ways than one.

My Observations After Using the Primary Arms SLX 1-8×24

The Primary Arms SLX has numerous excellent features, starting with a set of integrated lens caps. These are handy features since they allow you to protect both your objective and ocular lenses against dirt, water, and other wear and tear in the field. During a recent camping trip, I subjected the scope to rough handling like throwing my rifle with the scope mounted into the bed of my truck and letting it bounce around over rough terrain. The integrated lens caps protected the glass remarkably well and there were no signs of scratches or defects in the lenses after this abuse.

This ties into an overall trend I noticed with the Primary Arms SLX scope: durability and functionality. The aluminum body is well-designed (though it doesn’t stop the scope from being a bit heavier than average), and it enables optimal functionality in inclement weather, fog, rain, etc. During a week-long elk hunting trip in rainy conditions, I was impressed with how fog and water resistant the scope proved to be. Even during a particularly damp morning hunt, the lenses remained crystal clear while peers with other scopes struggled with fogging. It’s unlikely to encounter any mechanical issues, and I certainly didn’t.

The windage and elevation turrets provide positive clicks and were consistent during testing. Though the turrets felt somewhat stiff out of the box, they smoothed out nicely after a few range sessions. I was able to reliably dial in adjustments throughout testing. At 8x magnification, I noticed only minimal parallax shift when moving my head that did not impact shooting accuracy.

Should you discover mechanical issues, the Primary Arms SLX is protected by a lifetime warranty, so you really get your money’s worth.

The eye relief is generous enough to easily get a full sight picture while wearing eye protection. I also appreciated the optical clarity, with good resolution and color rendition under a variety of lighting conditions from dawn to dusk.

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Then there is the illuminated reticle. This red reticle has 11 distinct brightness settings, and I found that each had a purpose and a hypothetical ambient light environment where they might be useful. While coyote hunting on overcast winter days, even the lower brightness settings provided good visibility. Cranking it up to maximum was remarkably bright and workable even under direct high noon sunlight. Battery life seems decent, but it’s easy to stash replacements.

However, the battery life could be a concern for extended trips without access to replacements. I’d recommend bringing along a few spare batteries on any multi-day trips to avoid getting caught without illumination.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

As I touched on above, the Primary Arms SLX is a bit heavy, even given the size of the objective lens. I noticed that the extra weight affected the handling of my rifle during a day-long shooting session, requiring adjustments to my shooting stance. You can overcome this issue by practicing with the scope before taking it into the field so you know how your rifle feels after mounting it.

Key Features

  • 1-8x magnification
  • 24mm objective lens
  • FFP scope


  • Illuminated reticle is useful and easy to keep charged
  • Very durable and good for use in inclement weather
  • Excellent lens quality
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty, plus lens caps 


  • Heavier than average, so it might throw off your rifle’s balance
  • Battery life may be a concern for extended use without access to replacements

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Primary Arms SLX is a good scope for under $1000, particularly if you want one protected by a lifetime warranty to insure yourself against duds or mechanical failures. Its robust build, clear optics, and versatile illuminated reticle make it a reliable choice for various shooting conditions.

My rating: 4.2/5

5. ATN OPMOD X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x-Best ATN Under $1000ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope w/ Ballistics Calc, 3864x2218 Resolution, Video Record, Wi-Fi, 18hrs+ Battery

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ATN’s X-Sight 4K Pro scope is one of the best night vision scopes under $1000, and not just for one reason, but several. Let’s take a closer look.

My Observations After Using the ATN OPMOD X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x

When I first used this rifle scope, I was immediately struck by the night vision functionality. The Enhanced HD night vision capabilities meant that I could use the scope, even in pitch-black environments, and see my targets no matter what. The clarity and detail provided by the night vision were exceptional, making it possible to identify and track game effectively in total darkness. That’s value you almost can’t put a price on, so it’s one reason why I’d recommend this scope for many serious nighttime hunters.

However, the scope is also bolstered by an Ultra HD Sensor, capable of 4K resolution recording and light transmission. The image quality during daylight was equally impressive, offering crisp and clear views. That’s combined with a video recording function, which streams video straight to a mobile device at HD resolutions. This feature was particularly useful for reviewing shooting techniques and sharing my experiences with others. If you want to record some time in the field, you can record that footage straight to the SD card stored inside the scope.

As you can see, this is a fantastic video scope for shooting in a variety of light environments. All that power has to drain a battery somewhere, but fortunately, I found that the X-Sight 4K scope’s battery can run for about 18 hours before needing to recharge. In my experience, that’s plenty of time for you to complete your hunting trip and get back to home or camp. I did find, however, that the battery life can diminish significantly in colder weather.

Product Highlights

The X-Sight scope even comes with a ballistic calculator. This feature greatly improved my shooting accuracy, especially at longer ranges, by providing real-time adjustments. Plus, the X-Sight comes with RAV or recoil activated video – you can focus on your game without having to worry about the recoil of your weapon compromising your video recordings. The RAV feature automatically captured critical moments of my hunts, which was great for analyzing and improving my shooting skills. The RAV feature means your recording can also be primed to active as soon as you fire your weapon.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Naturally, this scope isn’t a classic optic designed to help you hit the most distant shots possible. While its magnification is adequate for most hunting scenarios, I noticed a slight decrease in image sharpness at the highest magnification settings. It can magnify up to a decent range, but keep in mind that it is a bit more fragile than some simpler, tougher scopes on the market. During my use, I had to be particularly cautious about not dropping or jarring the scope, as it felt less rugged than traditional scopes. You’ll have to store the scope carefully to keep it in working condition for a long time to come.

Key Features

  • 5-20x magnification
  • 70mm objective lens


  • Excellent night vision capabilities
  • Video resolution is fantastic
  • Allows you to record video
  • Batteries last for a good amount of time


  • Can be a bit fragile
  • Image sharpness decreases at maximum magnification
  • Battery performance may vary in colder conditio

The Bottom Line

Overall, the ATN X-Sight video recording scope is a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment. I would definitely recommend it for shooters who want to record their hunting expeditions or target practice for further improvement. Its advanced technology features, like the ballistic calculator and night vision, offer a significant advantage for various shooting applications.

My rating: 4.6/5

Things to Consider When Buying a Rifle Scope Under $1000

Buying a rifle scope under $1000 can still be quite expensive depending on the exact model purchased. Wherever you land on the financial scale, keep these major aspects in mind when browsing and you’ll have a better chance of picking the best scope for your needs.

First or Second Focal Plane?

All rifle scopes will feature reticles on either the first or second focal plane. First focal plane reticles change in size by becoming smaller as you zoom out and larger as you zoom in. This means that their holdover or estimation hash marks will remain accurate no matter what magnification level you decide to use. However, this can be tricky to get used to.

On the flip side, second focal plane reticles never change size no matter what magnification level you operate within. This makes them perfectly accurate with one magnification setting – usually one of the lower settings – but requires you to estimate windage or elevation mark values as you switch away from that setting. It can be easy to use, but difficult to compensate with at longer or much shorter ranges.

Either way, both reticles can provide you with success if you are comfortable with them. Because there is no perfect reticle for every hunter, I chose and tested excellent rifle scopes under $1000 featuring both first and second focal plane reticles for your consideration. You’ll be able to pick your favorite from either category. I have scopes with reticles from both types.


The best rifle scopes under $1000 ought to be fairly durable to justify their asking prices. To that end, check out what kind of coatings might protect the lenses of a given rifle scope. These lenses can benefit from those defensive coatings, which can prevent them from becoming scratched or dented, even if the rifle scope suffers wear and tear.

You’ll also want to check out whether a rifle scope is built to be waterproof or fog proof. Such scopes are perfect for taking into inclement weather or for hunting in every season. All of the scopes under $1000 that I selected are made with durability in mind, but their exact construction details vary from scope to scope.

Innovations and Features

Naturally, scopes priced around this range should have some excellent bells and whistles to make them worth your time and money. To that end, you should investigate what each scope offers in terms of reticle illumination, parallax adjusters, or audible windage and elevation adjusters.

Several of the scopes under $1000 which I tried feature reticles that can be illuminated to one degree or another. This allows you to use the reticle more effectively in very bright sunlight or to adjust reticle brightness settings in the dark. In other words, this feature grants even more versatility to any scope on which it is installed.

Parallax and windage and elevation adjusters are critical parts of any versatile scope, particularly for hunters like me that target distant animals or points. Eliminating parallax is key to long-distance accuracy, and many of these high-quality scopes feature adjustment knobs that have audible and tactile clicking sounds with each increment you move them. Essentially, you can adjust your various settings without removing your eye from the lens or compromising your accuracy.

All in all, just consider what each scope can offer that distinguishes it from the rest. All of these scopes are high-quality and offer magnification settings that make them good choices for close-range and long-range distances alike. But their other features are what truly distinguishes them as individual products.


Finally, consider the manufacturer warranty that comes with each of the below scopes. Scopes under $1000 might be a great bargain depending on their durability and ease of use, but they may still cost a significant amount. Having a great manufacturer warranty can provide you with peace of mind and ensure that you won’t have to pay extra if you receive a scope that’s been damaged in transit.

Furthermore, some of the best scopes under $1000 have lifetime warranties. These warranties will provide you with repair or replacement services as long as you use the scope correctly. The warranties are an incredible value for money and should always be taken into consideration when you are choosing which scope to purchase.


Overall, any of the above scopes under $1000 will be a fantastic choice for most rifles. Remember to consider the special features of each, as well as whether you’ll use those features, to determine which is most worth your time and money. Good hunting!

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